Product News and Recalls

Public demands forced corporate changes

An opinion piece for the Boston Globe points out that public scrutiny and consumer activism is what prompted Johnson & Johnson’s recent decision to phase out questionable chemicals in its full line of products.

The piece applauds that decision, and urges members of the public to keep up that kind of pressure where corporate actions and accountability are concerned.

Johnson & Johnson had already acceded to consumer activists’ demands by saying it will take certain chemicals out of its baby shampoos by 2013, such as the carcinogenic formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane. The company has since added adult lines such as Aveeno and Neutrogena to the list of products to be reformulated, and it will be removing other ingredients that could be health hazards, such as phthalates, parabens, and triclosan.

Would Johnson & Johnson have taken that step without the pressure of consumer activists? Though there’s no way to say for sure, the company’s actions with regard to its medical devices indicate that it’s unlikely.

Plaintiffs in thousands of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson cite evidence that the company actively marketed faulty medical devices despite being aware that they’re dangerous.

Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics all-metal hip implants were recalled in 2010, following studies that showed nearly half of the patients needed to get them replaced within six years.

The company has also recently pulled four different types of transvaginal mesh implants from the market, used to treat urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, after hundreds women who had the devices implanted filed lawsuits alleging that they caused severe pain and injury.

The Boston Globe writes: “It’s never easy for consumers to tell whether the unpronounceable chemicals in their shampoos are harmful or harmless — but fair to conclude that it’s best to avoid at least some of them. Fortunately, outside scrutiny persuaded Johnson & Johnson to take another look. Other companies should quickly follow. Johnson & Johnson is proving that consumer activism can prompt companies to make such reassuring moves. No more tears, indeed.”

You should consult with a doctor if you have any ongoing symptoms or health concerns from a transvaginal mesh or metal-on-metal hip implant. If you have significant injuries, you should also consult with a DePuy hip or transvaginal mesh lawyer to discuss your legal rights.

See the piece here: